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Monday, January 21, 2008

Two-faced Plaid

Plaid Cymru MP, Adam Price, really cannot help himself. Writing in today's Western Mail on the Peter Hain affair, he just had to get in some snide remarks about the Liberal Democrats. Almost as an aside he refers to his spat with Lembit Öpik on Radio Wales last week in which words were exchanged on Plaid Cymru's own problems with the misuse of public money.

Mr. Price suggests that a difference of opinion between Lembit and his frontbench colleague, David Laws over what should happen to Mr. Hain is another example of 'why the Liberal Democrats have earned a reputation for facing both ways on almost every issue.'

What he does not mention is that the Plaid Cymru Party Leader in the Welsh Assembly, Ieuan Wyn Jones, has taken a similar view to Lembit, that the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner's inquiry must be allowed to run its course before we pass judgement on the Welsh Secretary. That is a contrary view to Adam Price.

Is this difference of opinion another example of Plaid Cymru facing both ways on almost every issue? Or is it just an honest difference of opinion between two party colleagues?
I think Lembit likes the opportunity to take a maverick stance, and this is an occasion where he has excelled because of it. I caught him in a BBC television appearance last week and he commanded a lot of respect when he rightly said that scoring party political points over matters like this is not appropriate, and that while Peter Hain's affairs are being scrutinised by the relevant commission it is not the place of individuals to publicly pass judgment.

It's refreshing to see members of any party pass up the opportunity to kick members of another while they're down as it were, it gives me hope that I might not be the only person who thinks it could sometimes be nice to be nice in politics. Save the fighting for when it really matters and show a bit of respect and basic courtesy the rest of the time, and you'll stay in my highest regard.
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